S’mores Party!!!

Over the weekend, James and I threw a s’mores party- just for the fun of it. We got the idea from my bachelorette party, and decided to make it boys-allowed this time. We had so much fun putting things together, together.

I found some gorgeous lanterns at Michaels. We put some in the gazebo, and lining the steps so no one would trip in the dark. Also, we decorated the party area with these beautiful lights:

Pergola at Night

 

Along with your typical graham crackers and marshmallows, homemade chocolate chip cookies we an added bonus for s’mores making.

Lazy susan with graham crackers, marshmallows, and cookies. Extra bowls of marshmallows at either end of the table. 2 sterno-fuel fires, one at each end. An extra platter of s’mores ingredients. Fondue forks-a-plenty. Hershey bars scattered around the table, at least one per person.

S'mores

We ended up moving the appetizers to the same table. I had made bacon-wrapped smokies, which turned out to be the perfect savory alternative for roasting over the little fires. Taco dip was also present, along with strawberry shortcake brought by one of my awesome cousins, and this fabulous cheese plate:

New Zealander, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Gouda, and Bruschetta Jack

New Zealander, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Gouda, and Bruschetta Jack

We also had melted Brie. I love Brie.

Drinks included Corona, 2 flavors of Mike’s, and Smirnoff Ice, along with Lemonade, Tea, Water and Sodas.

It was a complete success! I can’t wait to do this again sometime!

S'mores Party Created with Nokia Smart Cam

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Use your Egg-noggin :)

In the last month, we’ve had 4 holiday parties at our house. Now that we’re done with entertaining every other week, today I decided to have a little fun finding uses for leftover eggnog. I know, eggnog isn’t exactly helpful for achieving your January health goals. But still, you hate to let it go to waste, right? Two recipes in particular were definitely worth repeating.

1. Eggnog Bread Pudding

eggnog bread pudding2

Um, who wouldn’t want to wake up to this? Good Morning Beautiful!

For 2 servings:

Whip up 2 eggs, add about 1/2-3/4 cup of eggnog, a splash of rum, nutmeg, cinnamon, and about 2 heaping handfuls of cubed bread leftover from Christmas. Cover and refrigerate overnight if you’re into that sort of thing. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until set. Serve with maple syrup.

2. Eggnog Ice Cream

Eggnog Ice Cream

The inspiration behind this was a realization that eggnog is almost the same thing as what is found in more complicated frozen custard and gelato recipes. Skip all the whisking over the stove and refrigerating over night.

For 1 Qt.:

Whisk together 2 to 2 1/2 cups eggnog, 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, a splash of rum (about 1/4 cup), about 1/8 tsp of vanilla, a fist full of sugar (about 1/2 cup) and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into ice cream maker. In my Cuisinart, it took about 25 minutes to reach the consistency I wanted. It was soft, and amazing. You could freeze it for a few hours if you want it to be harder.

Ice cream maker

Celebrating Family

We have so much to be thankful for this year. We’re finally married, we’re finally together in our perfect little house, and we’re finally living the life we’ve always dreamed of. I never thought life would be this beautiful.

November morning at home

November morning at our home in Maryland

One of the biggest things we are thankful for this November is our enormously huge family. Each of us brought roughly 30 first cousins with us into this marriage, along with dozens of aunts and uncles. We love our new family more than anything. We’re looking forward to celebrating this with our second annual Day-After-Thanksgiving Christmas Movie Night.

Last year, we rounded up the cousins/aunts/uncles. Everyone brought their leftover desserts from Thanksgiving (which was a LOT of food).  I made my mom’s apple cider and my Italian grandmother’s Pastorelli cookies, both of which were a big hit with James’s family. The movie list? We went with family favorites: Charlie Brown’s Christmas and Elf.

It was the most fun I have ever had at a party that I was hosting. It was simple to put together and tons of fun for all involved. We can’t wait to do it again this year!

Foodie Goes to the Bowling Alley

It sounds like a horror story, right? Bowling alleys are notorious the world over for microwaved pizza and nachos. No one goes to a bowling alley for the food, right?

Wrong.

Yesterday was my fiancé’s birthday, so after work, I took him to 300. No, not the movie. The bowling alley. It’s more than a bowling alley though. It’s also an upscale restaurant with full bar. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

http://www.3hundred.com/

You walk in, and suddenly you’re thinking “Is this paradise?” We get our fingers fitted for a bowling ball. We get our shoe rentals. A waiter takes us to our lane.

It’s a Wednesday, so we don’t order anything off the extensive cocktail list, but they look delicious. The menu is your modern American, sort of like the Cheesecake Factory. With James being the birthday boy, we ordered a pizza, half cheese half sausage. And it was the kind of pizza you’d expect in an upscale place, no frozen garbage.

We bowled two games. As my finger was still injured from this past weekend’s holiday party, I opted for bumpers. Lame, I know. But I’m one of those people who can’t handle a gutter ball properly.

For dessert, we got James’s favorite: a Brownie Sundae. He’s a “less-is-more” kind of man when it comes to food. This time it came with a cute little candle on top. It was priceless. We’ll definitely be going back.

Holiday Pizza Party!!

Our party was a huge success!! Chili and Pizza are now acceptable holiday dishes. We had about 20 people, all of which seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Here was the menu:

Appetizers:

Artichoke and Crab dip w/ pita, salsa w/ chips, Manchego cheese straws, veggies, cheese plate w/ feta, pepperjack and a soft spreadable garlic cheese

Dinner:

Chili with toppings (meatless for our vegetarian friends), 5 pizzas (2 plain, 1 pepperoni, 1 CA’s veggie supreme, 1 half veggie half plain), Salad with Pinot Grigio vinaigrette made by my fabulous Aunt Diane.

Dessert:

Oreo pie, Cynthia’s famous brownies (AMAZING!!), Christmas cookies (made by myself and James) and a DARLING Christmas Cake made by Genna and my mom (decked out with Christmas cookies, Hershey kisses, and m&m’s)

Drinks:

Soda, lemonade, wines, egg nog

 

It was great! Sadly I burned my finger on a 425F oven rack taking a pizza out of the oven, but luckily my cousins took over the job of cooking pizzas after that. It was so much fun seeing family, and everyone’s fiancés and boyfriends added a lot to the party. The  party actually gave me a chance to see how my family has grown, and how all the new people really add a lot to the fun!

P.S. I’ll post the recipe for CA’s Veggie pizza soon. It’s really quite fantastic!